Skip to comments.Penn State sends a message. US bishops, take notice.
Posted on 11/11/2011 9:38:23 AM PST by Alex Murphy
At Penn State, a month after the revelation of a sex-abuse scandal, four top executives have been ousted. In the American Catholic hierarchy, a decade after the exposure of hundreds of sex-abuse cases, just one bishop has resigned.
So now the American bishops know what it looks like when an institution takes its responsibilities seriouslyits responsibility not only to curb abusers, but also to hold accountable those leaders who allowed the abuse to go unchecked.
A university president, a vice-president, an athletic director, and a legendary football coach have been dismissed for doing once what many American bishops did multiple times. The trustees of Penn State have sent out a clear message: The sexual abuse of children is a heinous crime, and those who cover up the abuse share the guilt. The American Catholic bishops have very clearly grasped the first part of that message, and just as clearly failed to come to terms with the second part.
The students who noisily protested the firing of Joe Paterno also failed to grasp the point about holder leaders accountable. They admire Paterno for his coaching prowess, and understandably so. They say that he has made enormous contributions to Penn State, and they are right; there is already a statue of the man on campus. But even great men can do bad things. By failing to take appropriate action against an abuser, Paterno wrote his own sad ending to what should have been a stellar career.
The angry students at Penn State are showing a very natural human tendency. They admire Joe Pa, and dont want to think ill of him. They recognize that he made a major mistake, but dont think he should be punished for it. Couldnt we just cut the man some slack?
Perhaps Paterno himself was thinking along similar lines when he first heard the complaints against Jerry Sandusky. Presumably the old coach liked his assistant, and didnt want to make trouble for him. So he handled the matter quietlyand the abuser went unpunished, and more children were put at risk.
No doubt the same sort of sentimental thinking took place in chanceries all around the country (all around the world, it seems), when Church officials learned that Father X had been accused. Father X has done wrong, but hes fundamentally a good man, the bishops and monsignors might have said. Lets help him to work his way out of this problem gracefully. So the priest was quietly removed from his parish, given a few weeks of therapy, and then returned to a new assignment, where he had new opportunities to molest young people.
We all tend to make excuses for the people closest to us. Apparently that tendency affects even the most vociferous critics of clerical abuse. But even if it is a very natural weakness, it remains a weakness. If we want to eliminate the abuse of children, we must get tough with abusers. Sometimes that might mean fighting off the temptation to make excuses for themin effect, getting tough with ourselves.
....We all tend to make excuses for the people closest to us. Apparently that tendency affects even the most vociferous critics of clerical abuse. But even if it is a very natural weakness, it remains a weakness. If we want to eliminate the abuse of children, we must get tough with abusers. Sometimes that might mean fighting off the temptation to make excuses for themin effect, getting tough with ourselves.
Not so. Only Spanier and Paterno were fired. Curley and Schultz are only on a leave of absence. And McQueary is still there.
The house wasn't swept quite so clean, was it?
Observing the fall of mankind, and who it is that falls, and why he falls, when and how and so on, becomes a venture into self, doesn’t it? With the story still new and still unfolding, some of us are noisy reactionaries who seem to get the whole picture at once, but who can turn out to be quite wrong, and there are others of us who are the sentimental saps who interminably delay connecting the dots, facing the facts.
I liked the point Phil L. makes on “sentiment”. I probably tend to fall into that catagory, but hopefully when faced with facts many of us can cross that bridge and wake up.
I was wondering when someone was going to point out this glaring contrast. Now I wonder how many people who are frothing at the mouth against Paterno are also Catholic apologists (including indifference or trivialization) for similiar abuses from Catholic clergy. Quite a few, I think - rural PA is heavily Catholic.
"Freshmen Orientation At Penn State Is A Cause For Concern For Christian Parents" by Gary L. Morella
Students are being manipulated at Penn State by confusing "perversity" with "diversity." This is the result of President Graham Spanier's social engineering agenda where, through the Vice-Provosts Office for Educational Equity, being inclined to unnatural sex acts is presented to PSU students as a cause for pride, an alternative lifestyle, contrary to almost unanimous condemnation across a broad spectrum of faith traditions from time immemorial. It's not a question of "tolerance" anymore, but rather a "demand" for compromising your faith, something that is against the law if "freedom of religion" still has meaning in this country. Graham Spanier needs to be reminded that his incoming freshmen during orientation, and his student body as a whole, are not obliged to "tolerate" the promotion of sin. To do so is coercion in the strongest sense of the word. This is happening at a university that receives a significant amount of annual public funding from Harrisburg, a university that prides itself on "freedom of speech", which seems to include all speech except that of those who disagree with its policies for reasons of faith.
In a memorandum to the Penn State faculty dated August 21, 2001, President Spanier said, "I am enclosing a summary of some key University Park resources available to students. Please do not hesitate to make referrals." Included in this referral list was the
Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender Resource Room, 328 Grange, 863-1248 www.lions.psu.edu/lgbt.
The room provides confidential support and information to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Penn Staters.
So with a stroke of the pen President Spanier has given his unqualified support to the official promotion of sexual deviancy at his university equating it with the Center for Adult Learner Services, Center for Ethics and Religious Affairs, Student and Family Services, Disability Services Office for Students, Division of Undergraduate Studies, Student Aid Office, University Health Services, and Veterans Programs, to name a few of the other University Park resources getting equal billing with the promotion of homosexuality. It's one thing to allow radical student groups a voice under the most liberal of ACLU guidelines; it's something else to embrace such groups as official university policy contrary to the beliefs of a large number of taxpaying residents of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who find themselves being forced to support behavior that their faith traditions hold in anathema.
The Penn State student paper, The Collegian, reported that "that tremendous paragon of virtue," Jesse Jackson, who recently proved that he's just as shameless as his hero, William Jefferson Clinton, would be coming to campus. Jackson should be making the distinction between "invidious" discrimination, which everyone should be against, and "just" discrimination between right and wrong, which everyone should be for, in making it clear to PSU students that the civil rights movement has been hijacked by a group of radicals whose demand for unity to include their particular agenda allows for no dissent whatsoever. Somehow, I doubt that this will occur. It was also reported that a parent of Matthew Shepard would be speaking on campus.
It's very sad what happened to Matthew Shepard, something that should not happen to any creation of God. It's equally sad what happened to a young boy in Arkansas, Jesse Dirkhising, who was brutally sodomized, tortured, and killed by homosexuals. Equal justice under the law applies in both cases. Evidently, equal reporting doesn't, by the media's own admission, as Shepard has been made a homosexual icon while Dirkhising has been forgotten.
Would someone care to provide a list of American bishops who (a) have not resigned; (b) have not yet retired; and (c) are themselves (not their predecessors) credibly accused of coverups ?
The most egregious case I can think of Mahoney, who’s both retired (finally) and protected by the liberal media. You can guarantee that a bishop who was conservative — a Chaput or Bruskewitz — who could be painted as guilty of covering up child abuse would have been pilloried in the press by now. The press covers up for Mahoney and those like him because he’s a liberal like they are.
Try going to bishop-accountability on google.
His latest book, “The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston's Catholic Culture” is one I highly recommend.
Evil knows no social, geographical, political, religious, or cultural boundaries and it does no good to pretend otherwise.
Graham Spanier aggressively pushed the gay agenda from his first day on the job in 1993. I remember because I was at Penn State back then.
Penn State has a culture of intimidation against anyone who dares to question homosexuality.
Consider this incident as another mile marker on the road to Damnation.
National Catholic Reporter (i.e. Fishwrap) editor-at-large Tom Roberts had a blistering commentary in yesterday's edition that (despite it being the Fishwrap) is IMO worth reading:
In contrast, in the ongoing abuse crisis in the church, only one bishop who oversaw a cover-up, Cardinal Bernard Law, was removed from a position after public outrage and the outrage of his priests in Boston reached such a pitch that the Vatican had to do something. That something was to transfer him to a cushy position in Rome, where it was easier for him to get to the meetings of the six influential Vatican congregations -- offices in the Vatican bureaucracy -- on which he was allowed to retain membership.Another example not listed above is Archbishop Rembert Weakland, who resigned his office voluntarely at age 75, despite having a gay lover, yet received all retirement benefits due a former bishop. From a sacerdotal point of view, Weakland walked away with a clear conscience. And Weakland's successor, Archbishop Jerome Listecki, had the chutzpah to blame the priests, not Weakland and not the Archdiocese, for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee having to file Chapter 11 Bankruptcy because of all the abuse that went on under Weakland.
He recently hosted a lavish party in Rome to celebrate his 80th birthday. It was attended by some of the top figures within the Vatican bureaucracy.
Cardinal Anthony Joseph Bevilacqua, who oversaw the cover-up of hideous crimes against children committed by numerous Philadelphia priests, was able to slip quietly into retirement on the grounds of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, a suburb of Philadelphia. The Vatican never uttered a word of reprimand for the institutional harm to children that he helped to hide during his tenure and that is detailed in a Philadelphia grand jury report.
His successor, Cardinal Justin Rigali, and some in his administration repeatedly violated the bishops' own norms for handling sex abuse and repeatedly misrepresented to the public the nature and extent of the problem. A second grand jury report resulted in the indictment of Msgr. William Lynn, former vicar for clergy, for failing to remove abusive priests. He was at the time the highest-ranking Catholic clergyman charged in the scandal.
Rigali recently slipped quietly into retirement. Again, no word of rebuke from the Vatican.
Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., became the highest-ranking clergyman charged in the abuse scandal when he and the diocese were indicted for failing to report child abuse. But Finn is staying in place, determined to run the diocese, and apparently no one can tell him, much less force him, to step aside for the good of the church while dealing with his legal entanglements.
No word of rebuke has issued -- not from fellow bishops nor from Rome -- of Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Neb., who has flatly refused to comply with the minimal controls put in place by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops during its spring meeting in Dallas in 2002.
And former Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony has been allowed to quietly slip off the national stage while leaving behind a mountain of documentation that would blow the lid of the archdiocese if released, say prosecutors, victims' lawyers and others involved in assessing cases. No one knows quite how much has been spent keeping the documents -- which were supposed to be released as part of an earlier settlement agreement -- under wraps.
“Penn State has a culture of intimidation against anyone who dares to question homosexuality.”
Sounds like they fit right in with mainstream American “culture”.
Well, a couple problems there.
None of the bishops who were involved in any of the sex abuse cases are still bishops.
So yes, the house has been swept clean. This article is in error.
“Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., became the highest-ranking clergyman charged in the abuse scandal when he and the diocese were indicted for failing to report child abuse.”
Uh, he reported the child abuse, and the priest involved is gone.
As your article admits, all of the bishops who were involved in the sex abuse cases are gone. The house has been swept clean.
Let’s remember that this is the same college that just whitewashed Michael Mann’s academic fraud on the global warming hockey stick . . .
Bruskewitz not putting up with the mickeymouse requirements that the USCCB tries to impose is no crime. He's also on record as telling parents in his diocese to report molesting priests to the police immediately, but you don't mention that.
The Finn case is ongoing. I'm not convinced that he's guilty of anything.
Bevilacqua is not only retired for close to 15 years, he suffers from cancer and Alzheimers. What do you recommend we do with an old, sick man like that?
Mahony's also retired. Neither the fishwrap nor the LA Press had anything bad to say about him when he was in power.
Not impressed with their list.
This is naive. Many of the bishops had skeletons in their own closets and were blackmailed to keep quiet.
Then why the insanity of trying to canonize JP2? Your denials ring hollow.
Blech, to you. (And that isn’t good.)
Spanier was only ousted as President. From what I've read, both he and his wife still hold tenured professor positions at the university.
Why, oh why, does the media always write about the Catholic Church when there is abuse in all churches?
Thanks. I've read that since then. And Schultz was holding his position on an interim basis to begin with and elected to step-down.
So the numbers are the same, but just the names have changed. Instead of getting rid of four men, as the author wrote, the University kept two: Curley and Spanier. I misspoke when I said it was Curley and Schultz.
If only we would let football coaches marry, this kind of tragedy could have been avoided, right? How many heads truly have “rolled” at Penn State? What about the many, many other public schools where abuse is known and tolerated?
“If only we would let football coaches marry....”
Yes, I always thought that was SUCH a stupid “argument” made about Priests. Firstly because look how many married people are caught doing these things, Sandusky is just the latest example, would that he would be the last, but I doubt it. Secondly, the argument for marriage by Priests only makes sense if you are talking about a Priest having an affair with a grown woman. Of course that happens and it may be a sin, but it isn’t a crime, unless she’s married to someone, then it’s adultery.
Everyone has the Penn State scandal backwards. This isn’t about football programs being so sacrosanct that the school will turn a blind eye to infractions. This is about respected institutions being infiltrated by people who use the institution as a shield for their own disgusting deeds.
The other college sports scandals have been about getting the best players on the field. Reggie Bush gets money. At Oklahoma, under Switzer, players with criminal backgrounds were allowed onto the field.
At Penn State, after Sandusky was discovered molesting boys, Paterno divested him from the program. There was no possible benefit to Penn State football in allowing a man who was committing heinous acts to continue to use the facilities to attract and molest young boys.
The reports were so pervasive and so similar, over such a long period of time that everyone in power at Penn State had to know what was going on.
Graham Spanier, the former President of Penn State, was removed by the Board of Regents after the scandal exploded, but maintained as a professor. He wrote a paper entitled “Sexual socialization and premarital sexual behavior : an empirical investigation of the impact of formal and informal sex education.” in 1973, and had Rene Portland removed from her position as head women’s basketball coach because she would not allow lesbian activities on the team.
Note that Paterno and Coleman, who were never accused of any sexual activities were removed from association with Penn State, while Sandusky and Spanier, the molester and the man who made the ultimate decision about his presence on campus, were allowed to remain. Oh, and Penn State will fund Spanier’s defense. Does anyone really think the Board had a problem with Spanier or Sandusky? No. They didn’t put Sandusky on administrative leave when it became obvious what he was doing, even during the grand jury investigation and the deposition of many Penn State employees. They didn’t do it when Sandusky was indicted. They did it when it became a public relations problem.
Anyone who thinks, even at this time, that Penn State is doing anything other than the absolute minimum they can get away with to try and make this story go away is wrong.
The big similarity between the situations at both institutions is that pedophiles infiltrated the institutions and used their good names as a shield to carry on their activities. In both instances, the institution and the press have been so infiltrated by the perpetrators and enablers, that their only goals are to do the absolute minimum necessary to make the story go away so they can return to their network of activities, using the institution as a shield, method of recruiting children, and a money stream.
Ask Phil Lawler and the rest of the staff at Catholic Culture.
Stupidity is not prevalent as is malevolence. No less abhorrent than the actual molestation of our most precious gift, our children, is the continuing exploitation of these victims for secular and political gains. This is no different than those who would speak out against abortion but would make personal from the commercial use of aborted fetuses.
Most notable is the Freeper who has posted numerous threads attempting to link and further condemn the Church with the scandal at Penn State yet he has not yet publicly condemned the coaches, administrators and apologists for the actual deeds. A review of his posts shows that when he mentions them at all it is in statements complimenting them for their handling of the situation.
Instead he has railed endlessly against the sins of the Church in his endless and futile quest to destroy the it.
"Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."" - Mark 7:6
That was the first thing that came out of my mouth regarding this sad affair. If only they would let the coaches marry, tsk tsk!
I love it how the education system is given so many free passes. At least this time, it was brought to light. How many other things have gone on within these institutions that have not been brought to light? Many, I’m sure.
See post #28.
This is about respected institutions being infiltrated by people who use the institution as a shield for their own disgusting deeds.Exactly right.
The leftist media refrains from attacking the various man-made ecclesial communities for the same reason that sharks don't eat lawyers.
Tough is protecting pedophiles for 13 years? Wow.
Insanity? The man was a great pope.
The troubles were not with the bishops he appointed, but those whom he intherited. Look at that list again...
If anyone is the equal of a Bishop in this situation, it would be the University President. But, I notice the article doesn't mention that the President who is stepping down will remain a part of the tenured faculty at the College of Health and Human Development (where they no doubt churn out studies that show buggering little boys is a good thing). Nor is there anything said about the various persons who "investigated" the original claims on behalf of the campus police, various little panels that reviewed that investigation, and so on. Only in the world of the propaganda artist do these things work themselves out instantly. In the real world there are initial actions, and actions that take place over time. Including those tidbits of reality, though, wouldn't fit the propaganda agenda that works overtime to slander the Catholic Church while ignoring the very same thing running amok in the government run schools in this country.
Of course, if those slinging the propaganda are on the same side as those running the schools that's what you'd expect, isn't it? It's like those who use a layer or two of indirection to get around the injunction against quoting a particularly horrible source, they carefully select those sources so they can still post what they know are lies. They just hope no one will scratch the surface and figure out what they're really up to rather than just accepting their claims of being pure as wind driven snow.
Have you no shame? Your response is no better than that of the rioting Penn State students. Even if Paterno was a great coach, all that credit is lost by his enabling of homo abuse. The same applies to JP2, only much more so.
The troubles were not with the bishops he appointed, but those whom he intherited.
For decades JP2 extolled and defended the homo abuser running the Legionaries of Christ, despite numerous true allegations from victimized former seminarians. It was not until JP2 fell sick that Cardinal Ratzinger was finally able to take action. This is just one bad example among many.
It is wrong to desecrate the institution of sainthood just to whitewash the crimes of a notorious homo abuse enabler. When JP2 appointed his fellow homo abuse enabler, the disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law, to be archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, JP2 demonstrated that even by that late date, he had not yet repented of his dereliction. It was left to Benedict XVI to acknowledged and apologize for the homo abuse since JP2 never did.
Post of the month! Congrats!
Ignore them and they will fade away. They are not the first ecclesiastical revolutionaries to attack Holy Mother the Church and the popes and they won't be the last.
Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia!
Roma locuta, causa finita! God bless you and yours. Blessed John Paul, pray for us and for them.
Phil Lawler and Catholic Culture are Catholic-hating left-wing Catholics?
I’m a Latin-rite convert from Anglicanism. I don’t have much sympathy for the SSPX folks. Obedience is a virtue.
Mahoney was bad, but Weakland was even worse. They are finally gone. Weakland was an appointee of Paul VI back in ‘77. Mahoney was consecrated in ‘75. Law was consecrated back in ‘73.
Law, Weakland, Mahoney, et al, were elevated to bishops all prior to Pope John Paul’s papacy.
Again, look at the bishops that Pope John Paul elevated during his long pontificate. That the problem has been dealt with is evidence that Pope John Paul did not coddle the abuse.
He is a great pope. Really, he is and I was fortunate enough to make it under his pontificate.